Understanding what people need
Our conversations with CHOICE used The Log as a starting point, but it wasn't the only context we thought about. Several things play a part in making home internet connections a consumer rights issue.
Broadband in Australia
At the outset, CHOICE told us about a national policy that had done a lot to shape attitudes to technology in Australia. NBN, the National Broadband Network of Australia, has had a troubled rollout. The ambition to upgrade and improve nationwide communication infrastructure has met successive delays, ballooning costs and shifting ambitions.
For many Australians, "NBN" has become the way they explain problems with their internet connection. It's reduced consumers faith in technology policy, and led to a sense of helplessness; why change your router's settings if NBN's so broken?
Our prototype had to be mindful of that attitude, and be clear about where problems in an internet connection were.
Standards are straining
The number of devices being added to Wi-Fi networks in homes is already high. The proliferation of connected devices, trialed at shows like CES, is only going to add to that number. The technical specification of the technology hasn't kept pace with the way people use their networks.
With that load increasing, the problems people experience with Wi-Fi at home will get more common. Our prototype needed to allow for a growing range of connected devices, and be able to explain their impact on a network's performance.
New social norms
It's pretty common now to ask for the Wi-Fi details when you go to someone's home. But people are much less likely to remove themselves from a network as they leave, or delete guest devices from a network. That 'poor hygiene' leads to poorer security in general.
Our prototype had to accommodate these behaviours, but also prompt people to be a bit more thoughtful about the security of their network.
Speaking to CHOICE members
We talked to CHOICE members to understand how they use the internet and what they want to know about it. We wrote a couple of blog posts about that research, one about the products people have in their homes, the other about the questions they have about those products.
We took those findings and developed three service sketches. Each tests different ways of meeting the needs we identified in that research, and helped us refine the interface. We wrote blog posts about each of those sketches;
We’re indebted to the CHOICE members who volunteered their time to answer our questions and test these prototypes. We'd also like to thank Simply Secure for making their consent forms open source, these were really useful.